About 10,000 Kiriku* people live in 90 villages in the eastern part of the Amazon rainforest in an area about the size of New Mexico.
In 1935, three mission workers from Unevangelized Fields Mission (UFM), now Crossworld, tried to contact the then-hostile Kiriku people. The three men traveled up a river via canoe for several days; they were never heard from again.
An expedition party later traveled the river and found their canoe, belongings, and other evidence that they had died at the hands of the Kiriku. People continued to try to reach the Kiriku with the Good News of the gospel, and the New Testament in their language was eventually finished by a translation team composed of members of Crossworld in partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Jake Anderson, a JAARS-trained pilot, serves with Asas de Socorro—a JAARS aviation partner in Brazil. According to Jake, “The airplane is absolutely essential to the mission work being done in this area.” A large number of the Kiriku villages are along a river whose Kiriku name means “the very shallow river.” This rock-strewn, rapids-filled river is a beautiful sight from an airplane, but it’s almost impossible to navigate by boat.
Thus, the Kiriku have relied for years on Asas de Socorro’s planes and pilots to enable them to finish their translation and conduct other Scripture engagement activities.
Peter Stuart, a JAARS-trained pilot who also serves with Asas de Socorro, is grateful for the way the training at JAARS prepared him for serving in Brazil. During the three-month Pre-Field Orientation (PFO) at JAARS, the instructors took the overseas experiences and put them in the cockpit.
During Mountain Week, a period of intensive PFO training, the instructors simulated realistic days that the orientees could experience overseas. After the orientees had planned all their flights around the area, the instructors dressed up as passengers and threw wrenches into their plans.
Peter remembers thinking that the simulation was “over the top. There’s no way a day could include all of that—all those types of passengers, and cargo that doesn’t fit in the airplane, no matter what you do.” And then he arrived in Brazil and realized that it was just as the JAARS instructors had shown; they hadn’t exaggerated.
Learning how to navigate the chaos and struggles of overseas flying helped prepare Peter to, with Jake’s help, fly 80 people from 16 Kiriku villages.
One of the villages hosted an event similar to a church camp, inviting people of all ages from villages within a two-hour flight to attend the three- to-five day event of preaching, teaching, and worship.
It took Peter and another Asas pilot three days and many headaches to fly the people into the village. But it was worth it. Peter once stumbled into a group of young adults being taught the New Testament in their own language by a man who read the Scripture verse by verse and explained what it meant and how they should live it out.
“It’s hard to put into words what it’s like for them to get together and have that kind of fellowship, because we [in the U.S.] take it for granted,” Peter said. Although most of the villages have a church, and the New Testament is in their language, it was encouraging and refreshing for the people all to worship together.
“[This people group] is an example of what happens after translation,” Peter explained. A rage-filled people group who killed those bearing Scripture has been transformed by God’s Word into a people who love his Word, get together to study it, and long to share it with others!
Consider giving to JAARS Aviation Training so that people in Brazil and elsewhere can continue to have opportunities to grow in God’s Word!
*Name changed for security reasons